Greenpeace Southeast Asia

World Environment Day 2009 by Chuck Baclagon

I didn’t realize that a year has already passed since we commorated last year’s World Environment  Day (WED) , in Iloilo City, where we launched the Climate Defenders Camp to gather support against the coal expansionist push by the government.

This year’s theme is ‘Your Planet Needs You – UNite to Combat Climate Change’. Which reflects the urgency for nations to agree on a new deal at the crucial climate convention meeting in Copenhagen some 180 days later in the year.

World Environment Day

WED  was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972. WED is hosted every year by a different city and commemorated with an international exposition through the week of June 5. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), also created in 1972, uses WED to stimulate awareness of the environment and enhance political attention and public action.

WED 2009’s host is Mexico which reflects the growing role of the Latin American country in the fight against climate change, including its growing participation in the carbon markets.

Below are some initiatives taking place in Greenpeace Southeast Asia and around the Philippines on WED.

Greenpeace University opens in Indonesia on WED

In Indonesia, Greenpeace  launched its first official activist training programme in Asia called the Greenpeace University, unveiling the groundbreaking initiative in Jakarta on the occasion of World Environment Day. At the launch, the international environmental campaigning organisation outlined the inspiration behind the Greenpeace University, and explained the course design and recruitment process for the programme’s first batch of scholars.

Green groups push for cleanup of dumpsites as RP marks World Environment Day

In a meeting held Thursday on the eve of the World Environment Day, 16 citizens’ groups vowed to intensify efforts to have the country’s polluting dumpsites closed and decontaminated.

Led by the EcoWaste Coalition, the groups pledged to campaign for government, corporate and citizen action to minimize pollution of the air, soil and water from gaseous and liquid contaminants coming from all abandoned and still operating dumpsites.

Present at the meeting were the representatives of the Advocates for Environment and Social Justice, Akbayan-Bulacan, Buklod Tao, Concerned Citizens Against Pollution, Diocese of Caloocan Ecology Ministry, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace, Health Care Without Harm, Krusada sa Kalikasan, Mother Earth Foundation, November 17 Movement, Sanib Lakas ng Inang Kalikasan, Save Sierra Madre Environmental Society, Sining Yapak, Upholding Life and Nature, Zero Waste Recycling Movement of the Philippines Foundation, Inc.

Visayas groups push for full implementation of environmental laws

Groups in Iloilo City celebrated World Environment Day by submitting their respective petitions and legal notices to the local government of Iloilo City demanding to take action by strictly implementing environmental laws in the country.

The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC-Iloilo) led by lawyer Romeo P. Gerochi and Ted Aldwin Ong submitted two notices to the office of Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas inquiring its level of compliance to RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 and RA 8749 or the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999.

The letter of notices states that implementation of the law “has been long overdue” and the groups are “ready to take legal actions.”

Other organizations and individuals under the umbrella group Global Legal Action on Climate Change (GLACC) likewise submitted its petitions and legal notices to the LGU of Iloilo City.

Chuck Baclagon

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